After torrential snow, blistering wind gusts, and ice cold temperatures, I finally attended my first Red Sox home game of this season this past Sunday. With months of experiencing Winter’s harsh reality, I sat in the bleachers on a balmy 42 degree night to watch the Sox make an incredible comeback against the Orioles. Jake Peavy took the mound across from Ubaldo Jimenez on Sunday Night Baseball, Easter edition. The Red Sox came back from a 5-0 deficit going into the bottom of the 6th to win it in walk off fashion in the bottom of the 9th. Games like this, where nearly half of the stands had cleared by the 7th inning, remind me of why I am such an avid Red Sox and baseball fan.
Walking into Gate C of Fenway Park for the first time in nearly a year brought chills and goosebumps as I approached the top of the steps to the bleachers. Pristine grass and a sea of fans in the seats never fails to amaze as a spectacular sight for any baseball fan. Despite this being one of many games I have attended, there is something special about the first of each season. After stuffing my face with steak and lamb for Easter dinner, I saved some room for an original Fenway Frank and an Italian sausage for good measure. Sitting next to one of my dear friends from my own team, I was in a blissful state watching the first pitch. However, after giving up 3 runs in the first, I began to feel some discouragement.
Despite the lackluster start, I never lost the faith in my hometown team even as they went down 5 runs as the last place team in the AL East. The bats were as cold as the night air for the first 5 innings as the Red Sox only recorded two hits and Jimenez was looking like the All Star that he is. But finally, Johnny Gomes broke the shutout with a towering 3-run homer into left field over the green monster. Now it was a ball game.
After some offseason acquisitions, the Red Sox bullpen was being put to the test in a tight ball game. Chris Capuano, Andrew Miller, Junichi Tazawa, and Edward Mujica pitched in stellar fashion to slam the door allowing only 2 hits on 0 runs in the final three innings. Two of the four were offseason pickups that appeared to payoff based on Sunday night’s performance. Capuano looked especially impressive with 1.2 innings pitched with 1 hit and 2 strikeouts. The Springfield, MA native from Duke demonstrated his revitalization with his pitching career.
At the plate, Johnny Gomes was the star of the show. He went 2-4 with a home run, double, and 3 RBIs. He is hitting .225 with a .333 OBP and a .425 slugging percentage on the season. Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz also had multi-hit nights including an RBI for Big Papi. Pedroia and Ortiz are hitting .260 and .254 respectively on the season. Brock Holt was another quality performer going 1 for 3 with a walk. The rookie is hitting .400 on the season with a .600 slugging percentage.
All in all, it was a wonderful opening day for myself and my extended family. One can never complain about a come from behind victory, especially when it is in a walk off fashion. Seeing my favorite team and player (Pedroia) was a wonderful delight even if it meant enduring wintry weather in the process. Hopefully I will see a similar victory tomorrow night against the Evil Empire.